I've been having some existential moments recently.
And I blame it on Apple.
I'm sure most of you have seen their recent inspirational commercial for iPad air:
It evokes in me emotion, but not because I have a fondness for iTech gadgets. Because this narration is not something thought up in the minds of iGeeks. Rather, it comes from my most favorite movie ever, Dead Poets Society.
If you want a movie that will make you think, that will make you feel, that will urge you to read literature and poetry, that empowers you to inspire others?
One of the most passionate scenes from the movie is the one referenced in the Apple commercial above, with Robin William's character, English teacher John Keating, philosophizing with his students:
The true essence, though, comes from the origin. Walt Whitman's poem, O Me! O Life!
"Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."
Does that not make you feel alive?
I could spend all day analyzing and breaking down this amazing poem by "Uncle Walt." It's so flipping good. I am most haunted, though, by the last line:
"The the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."
It has been running through my mind daily, leaving me with a feeling that there is work to be done. I realize it's more that I am working to answer a question within myself.
Which question, you ask? As Robin Williams so eloquently and passionately inquires:
What will your verse be?
I believe we take for granted how quickly life goes by, especially once we have kids. We spend so much time looking to the next thing, the next event, the next milestone, we don't take enough time to be in the moment. To take in the verse we are contributing.
There is something so absolutely beautiful in the idea that all of life is a play, of which each of our individual stories contributes to. Do you know what the means, friends? It means that our lives have meaning, purpose. That no matter who insignificant we feel, you are noticed. Whether you are working hard at a seemingly meaningless job or at home wiping snotty noses and poopy butts, our daily doings are necessary.
The Story of Life would be incomplete without YOU.
Friends, don't squander the great wealth of Your Verse. Don't take it for granted, don't put it on the back burner. Every moment of today and tomorrow is adding detail to the final draft. Will Your Verse be dark and loud and bittersweet? Will Your Verse be defeated and weak or victorious and strong?
Will it change how future verses are written?
So I continue to ponder and reflect and analyze. I wonder, with fear and hope, when I get to the end of my life and look back on all that I lived, what my life will say about me? What legacy will I pass on? How will I have changed the world for better?
I hope that My Verse will be strong and passionate and will inspire others to live on a legacy of greatness.
Take a moment today. Sit down with a cup of tea. Take stock of who you were yesterday, who you are today, and who you want to be tomorrow: as a woman or man, as a mother or father, as a spouse, as a daughter or son, as a friend or foe.
What Will Your Verse Be?